|aPaul Coates was an enigmatic god to his sons: a Vietnam vet who rolled with the Black Panthers, an old-school disciplinarian and new-age believer in free love, an autodidact who launched a publishing company in his basement dedicated to telling the true history of African civilization. Most of all, he was a wily tactician whose mission was to carry his sons through inner-city adolescence--and through Baltimore in the Age of Crack--and into the safe arms of Howard University, where he worked so his children could attend for free. Among his brood of seven, his main challenges were Ta-Nehisi, spacy and sensitive and almost comically miscalibrated for his environment, and Big Bill, charismatic and all-too-ready for the challenges of the streets. This book follows their divergent paths, and their father's steadfast efforts to keep them whole in a world that seemed bent on their destruction.--From publisher description.
An evocative memoir of family and growing up in the tough, violent world of Baltimore in the 1980s chronicles the relationship between the author and his father, a Vietnam vet and Black Panther affiliate, and his steadfast, if sometimes eccentric, campaign to keep his sons from falling victim to the seductive temptations of the streets. Reprint. 30,000 first printing.